Plein Air Festival

Plein air painters from all over California will paint various scenes around Kern County during the third annual Kern County Plein Air Painting Festival April 3 through 6. 

Photo by Brandon West

The Arts Council of Kern is presenting its third annual Kern County Plein Air Painting Festival April 3 to 8.

This six-day painting festival is inviting 17 award-winning and world-famous plein air painters from around California to paint Kern County.

“It’s a whole other animal than being in a studio because you have bugs, and wind, and cars, and weather, and the light changes all the time,” said Arts Council of Kern Executive Director David Gordon.

The artists have five days to travel and complete three paintings of the various sights and landscapes that Kern County has to offer.

Monday, April 3, they will spend the day at the Kern County Museum.

Tuesday, April 4, they will explore Hart Park.

Wednesday, April 5, they will travel along Highway 223 and the Bakersfield National Cemetery.

Thursday, April 6, the artists get to choose between painting at Tejon Ranch or Wind Wolves Preserve.

Friday, April 7, they will all gather during First Friday in downtown Bakersfield to paint one last time from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Once finished, their 17 paintings from that day will be auctioned off at Metro Galleries from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.

On the last day of the painting festival, Saturday, April 8, there will be a private awards and sales gala held at the Bakersfield Museum of Art. The gala will celebrate the Plein Air Painting Festival with wine and hors d’oeuvres and a juror presentation by artist Patricia Chidlaw.

Paul Kratter, who has participated since the festival started in 2015 said: “The patrons have followed us these first few shows and have been very supportive of the artists painting in their backyards. It’s fun without being over the top.”

“Kern County is huge and has a rich diversity of landscape. The mountains, the agriculture, the industrial sector, even the charming downtown, all offer great subject matter,” said returning artist Carolyn Hesse-Low.

Although the first five days of the Kern County Plein Air Painting Festival are free and open to the public for live viewing of the plein air painters in action, the last day is not. In order to attend the awards and sales gala, a ticket will have to be purchased.

“Every day is different and if you can’t make one thing but you’re really interested in it, maybe you can sneak away and go to another one,” Gordon said.

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